Putting Students in Charge: A Symposium on Student-Centered Learning
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BACKGROUND: Many symposia and workshops are held to discuss issues of student-centered learning, but few put students in charge. DESCRIPTION: An international meeting was held at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, to discuss Student-Centered Learning in the Life and Health Sciences where there were no plenary, oral, or poster presentations. Sessions were run in a problem-based, small-group format. Educational problems written specifically for the symposium served as springboards for learning. Undergraduate and graduate science students took center stage by taking an active role in the planning and organization of the event and serving as chairs and facilitators for the sessions. In addition, they summarized the sessions in written reports, which thus enabled their opinions to be documented. Eminent educators from several countries (Australia, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Finland, the UK, and the United States) participated in these sessions as both learners and content experts. EVALUATION: A questionnaire as well as comments suggested that the participants enjoyed the learning experience, which gave faculty, staff, and students opportunity to discuss in-depth educational issues related to process, content, and delivery of curricula.